Skip to main content

Full text of "Mind's Eye: Reviews and Comment May 1977"

See other formats


Reviews and Comment • 


May 1977 Volume 1, Number 2 



This magazine is for thoughts — your own or 
your reflection of, and on, someone else's 
thoughts — it does not matter. This is why we 
sea the national periodical press as The 
Mind ' s Eye ' s bread and butter. Original 
thought is hard to come by and does not occur 
in a vacuum. We look around constantly for 
the ideas of our contemporaries. An aware 
community needs to acknowledge those ideas, 
to disseminate and criticize them. 

There are, at the same time, original things 
happening on campus. People are doing 
research, writing papers, and giving speech- 
es. The Mind's Eye would like to publish 
these in shortened versions. This will give 
their authors notice, their ideas circula- 
tion, and us, their colleagues, greater 

Next issue's deadline: September 2. 

This is a magazine? With your help it will 


For years home gardens have been arranged 
with all vegetables planted in neat, orderly 
rows with a space between each row. You 
could be wasting up to half your garden area 
if you follow this procedure. The space 
between rows provides your garden with noth- 
ing except a place for weeds to grow. 

Is there a better way? Perhaps. Some people 
who have ventured into the area of organic 
gardening believe there is (see "Reshaping 
the Garden," by Margaret Boyles in the May 
Country Journal ) ■ Instead of rows, try 
planting in circles and strips, Corn, beans, 
and squash lend themselves to circle 

planting. Start with an initial circle 3 to 4 
feet in diameter with corn planted on the cir- 
cumference. Pollination of the corn is no prob- 
lem in a circle, as it often is with the end 
plants of a row. Next, plant a circle of pole 
beans outside the corn circle. The beans will 
use the corn plants to grow on. In addition, 
the beans, since they are legumes, will increase 
the nitrogen content of your soil and thus aid 
the corn and squash plants. Finally, in the 
outermost circle plant squash or cucumbers. 
The broad, prickly leaves of these plants will 
shade the soil, thereby increasing its water 
retention, and will provide an excellent 
barrier against skunks and raccoons. 

The corn-bean-squash circle Is but one example 
of circle planting. The basic idea is to plant 
together those plants that complement each 
other in their growing requirements and nutri- 
tional needs. Moreover, the above example does 
not require additional fertilizer, since the 
legumes are nature's way of recharging the soil. 

Strip planting involves planting in blocks or 
beds. Take a strip of your garden that can be 
reached on all sides (about 3 feet wide) and 
scatter your seeds (carrots) . The intent here 
is to saturate an area with your vegetables 
and thereby inhibit weed growth. In addition, 
with the elimination of rows, you can get more 
vegetables In a smaller area. 

Finally, any place where you have unplanted 
soil (between your strips and circles) , plant 
a cover crop. The type of cover crop will 
vary with the season. The cover crop, while 
growing, will aid moisture retention in your 
soil and discourage weed growth; when tilled 
under, it will improve your soil. 

There you have it. A garden of strips and 
circles without any unplanted soil. A garden 
where plants are working together, weeds are 
discouraged, moisture retained, soil improved, 
and fertilizer application reduced. Now enjoy. 

— Paul Humora — 



Can you imagine a meeting and a joint effort between dancers Margot 
Fonteyn and Ben Vereen? How about singers Leontyne Price and Ringo 
Starr? Or violinists Isaac Stern and Henny Youngman? Would you 
believe a luncheon with poets Marianne Moore and Muhammad Ali? 
Well, this latter confrontation is exactly what happened, thanks to 
the agency of the irrepressible George Plimpton ("These Sporting 
Poets," Harper ' s , May). 

Plimpton, who has quarterbacked an NFL team, gone toe-to-toe with a 
pro boxer, and golfed with a PGA player, took on perhaps his most 
formidable task when he set up a meeting at Toots Shor's between the 
delicate octogenarian poetess and the self -proclaimed "greatest" 
prizefighter in the world. 

Plimpton had accompanied Miss Moore to sporting events before the 
momentous encounter at Shor's, and he writes of her somewhat unusual 
responses to these events. For instance, Miss Moore seemed more 
interested in baseball players' names than in their averages or RBI's. 
She was intrigued by Minnie Minoso and Vinegar Bend Mizell. She was 
especially engaged by Yankee pitcher Bill Monbouquette — not only by 
his name but by his unconscious but persistent rearrangement of his 
jock strap after each pitch. Commented Miss Moore: "There is an 
insouciance in that gesture which is appealing. He should not be told. 
We should keep mum." She wrote his name down in her ever present note- 
book. "Monbouquette," she noted. "'My little bouquet.' Absolutely 
correct . " 

Plimpton took Miss Moore to the Patterson-Chuvalo fight. She was a 
Patterson partisan because she was attracted by his courtesy and the 
saga of his childhood, but she didn't like prizefighting: "Marred 
physiognomy and an occasional death don't seem an ideal life objective. 
I do not like demolishing anything — even a paper bag. Salvaging and 
saving all but dominate my life." 

At the fight, she first saw Ali. When Plimpton asked her if she would 
like to meet Ali, she replied, "I do not see any reason why I should 
not meet someone who assures everyone 'I am the greatest' and who is a 
poet nonetheless." Hence, the luncheon at Shor's. 

Ali suggested that, if Miss Moore were the greatest poetess in the 
country, the two of them should collaborate on a poem. They tried 
alternating lines on a sonnet about the upcoming Terrell fight. Miss 
Moore, as Plimpton notes, was apparently a little intimidated by Ali's 
presence and a bit slow in holding up her end; and to Ali, according 
to Plimpton, "speed of delivery was very much a qualification of a 
professional poet." When she seemed really hung up, Ali finished the 
poem — as Plimpton says, "not ... in a patronizing way at all, but 
more out of consideration, presumably that every poet, however distin- 
guished, is bound to have a bad day and should be helped through it." 

The poem is no literary masterpiece, but what was Miss Moore's opinion 
of Ali the poet? "Well," she wrote, "we were slightly under constraint 
And the rhyme for Terrell ( hell ) being of one syllable is hardly novel. 
. . . Cassius has an ear, and a liking for balance . , . comic, poetic 
drama, it is poetry . . . saved by a hair from being the flattest, 


peanuttiest, unwariest of boastings. 

And of All himself? "The Greatest, though a mere youth," she wrote, 
"has snuffed out more dragons than Smokey the Bear hath. . . . he is 
sagacious. ... He is literary. . . . Admittedly the classiest and 
the brassiest. ... He is neat. ... He fights and he writes. Is 
there something I have missed? He is a smiling pugilist." 

Not a Yalta Conference or a SALT Talk. Perhaps not even a terribly 
"historical" meeting. But it surely was a memorable meeting. 

— Michael Haines — 


The Greek government has long recognised the 
importance of preserving the treasures of 
Greek antiquity, and, in the case of art 
objects and artifacts displayed in the 
National and other museums, it has done so 
with distinction. But the Parthenon and the 
other ancient buildings that even today dom- 
inate the city of Athens are slowly crumb- 
ling amidst the smog and pollution of modern 
Athens. In antiquity, on a clear day, you 
could see forever from the Acropolis. 
Today, even the view of nearby landmarks is 
blurred by the smoke from the factories, 
shipyards, and refineries that ring Athens, 
and tourists are no longer allowed in or near 
the ancient buildings because of the danger 
of falling pieces from the ancient stonework, 
now weakened from years of exposure to the 
filthy air of Athens. 

The Greek government is acting now to save 
its architectural treasures. It has estab- 
lished a Committee to Preserve the Acropolis 
and it has supported UNESCO's international 
appeal for $15 million to save the Acropolis 
with a pledge of $5 million. These events 
are described by Emily Vermeule in the May 
Atlantic {"The Parthenon is Shrinking") , 
Ms. Vermeule is a professor of classics at 
Harvard and one of the distinguished group of 
international scholars working with UNESCO 
and the Greek government. She observes that 
one cannot expect the Greeks to move their 
industry or close it down; and, in that moun- 
tainous country, modern development is bound 
to root up some antiquities, for the good 
classical sites are also the good modern ones. 

In this conflict between the achievements 
of humanity in the past and the need for 
alleviating poverty in the present, the 

Parthenon has immense authority. The Greek 
government has already demonstrated its commit- 
ment to protecting the cultural environment of 
Greece. The preservation of the Parthenon, one 
of the most impressive buildings in the world, 
may show the way to save other masterpieces in 
Greece and in other countries. 

— Mary Fuqua — 


President Jimmy Carter — it still sounds strange 
to say it — has now been chief executive for his 
first hundred days and has given indications of 
what he is and what we may expect. Hedrick 
Smith, writing in the Sunday New York Times of 
April 24, mentions Carter's "deliberate 
'depomping' of the Presidency" and sees Carter 
as trying to make "the American system work 
better rather than radically alter it." Smith 
characterizes Carter as demonstrating a 
"moralistic spirit of reformism, with its 
emphasis on good government, traditional values, 
sacrifice, and patriotism" reminiscent of an 
earlier, innocent idealism. 

Surely Carter's ways are different from both the 
ambitious growth and power concepts which char- 
acterized the Democratic Sixties and the glori- 
fication of complacency which typified subse- 
quent Republican executives. The quick change 
to Carter's honesty, decency, and integrity 
show him initially to be self-effacing, even 
"corny." Yet, these characteristics of his 
"style" are components of his moralism and 
idealism. Carter seems to be a moralist who 
bases his moralism, not on a righteous and 
aggressive crusade for particular groups or 
causes, such as civil rights or world peace, 
but on a more general and substantial idea of 
goodness characterized by frugality, mutual 
respect, and belief in the ability of men to 
reason together. 


He has already addressed himself to the 
broad issues of energy, environment, human 
rights, and governmental responsibility in 
a way which demonstrates this philosophy. 
But his moralistic generalism is sure to 
pose serious political problems in the fut- 
ure, for in discussing the ways and means of 
achieving the common good, Carter has neg- 
lected addressing himself to the specific 
goals of entrenched power blocs — labor, the 
oil lobby, business groups, and even Congress 
itself, that labyrinth of pork barreling, 
patronage, and vested interests. Thus, while 
the newcomer Carter brings a laudable fresh 
wind of change to a stagnant political 
system, he may eventually raise a storm of 
opposition by confronting powerful political 
forces which resist fresh air and sunlight. 

— Randy Hansis — 


In the March issue of Change Professor Carl 
Stecher of Salem State College criticized 
the College-Level Examination Program's 
(CLEP) General Examinations (see The Mind' s 
Ey_e, April). Jack N. Arbolino, of the Col- 
lege Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) , 
presents a vigorous rebuttal in the April 
Change ("The College-Level Examination Pro- 
gram: Another View"). Mr. Arbolino makes no 
apology for the CLEP tests. Indeed, the con- 
cept of credit-by-examination (the broader 
issue in the debate) has many supporters. In 
its ten-year existence CLEP has received the 
full endorsement of the Commission on Educa- 
tional Credit of the American Council on 
Education, has been funded by both the 
Carnegie Corporation of New York and CEEB 
(over $6 million) , and is recognized by over 
1,800 colleges throughout the United States. 

In his response to Professor Stecher, Mr. 
Arbolino presents an able case for the de- 
fense. Stecher' s questioning of CLEP's 
national norming standards and of the con- 
tent of the General Examinations is carefully 
examined and refuted. He acknowledges CEEB's 
sensitivity to criticism, and he cites its 
responsiveness. During the past two years 
the General Examinations have been reviewed 

and improved by extending the testing time for 
each exam from 60 to 90 minutes and by adding a 
centrally graded essay to English Composition. 

Will these developments satisfy the apposition? 
Perhaps some will take a further look at the 
General Examinations. However, those philosoph- 
ically opposed to credit-by-examination probably 
will not be mollified. Two points can be stated 
with certainty: research on CLEP will continue 
and new critics will surface. 

— Jim Sulzman — 


"The Limits of Ethnicity," by Howard F. Stein 
and Robert F. Hill. The American Scholar , 
Spring. How ethnicity can become too much of 
a good thing. 

"The Life and Hard Times of the Sports Village 
at Bretton Woods," by Daniel Ford. Country 
Journal , May. A fable of the Seventies: the 
rise and fading away of the most ambitious 
resort development scheme in New England. 

"The Dangers of a New Cold War," by Georgi 
Arbatov. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists , 
March, A look at the speck in our own eye, as 
seen by Russia's foremost American expert. 

"Cancer and the Environment," by Samuel S. 
Epstein. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists , 
March. Cancer kills one in five Americans; 
most cancers are environmental in origin and 
are therefore preventable. 

"A Conversation with John Gardner," by Don 
Edwards and Carol Polsgrove. Atlantic , May. 
The author of October Light talks about life, 
art, politics, music, and fiction. How did he 
come by his skillful use of language? "Well, 
it's really pretty simple. My father, a farmer, 
who does sermons, goes around to these little 
churches and preaches. He knows the Bible back- 
wards and forwards, as well as Shakespeare and 
poetry. He reads that stuff and he loves lang- 
uage. Everybody in his family does . . . it's 
in the family. . . . And my mother is an English 
teacher." Simple? If you come from a family 
like the Gardners. Even then. . . . 

The Mind' s Eye will appear monthly when the college is in session. Members of the college 
community are invited to participate as editors arid contributors. Suggestions as to coverage, 
format, and content are sought. Editorial board: Stephen A. Green, R. Michael Haines, 
Charles A. Mclsaac, Thomas A. Mulkeen. Editor: Charles A. Mclsaac.